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Afghanistan's IslamFrom Conversion to the Taliban$
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Nile Green

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520294134

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520294134.001.0001

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When Muslims Become Feminists

When Muslims Become Feminists

Khana-yi Aman, Islam, and Pashtunwali

(p.225) 11 When Muslims Become Feminists
Afghanistan's Islam

Sonia Ahsan

University of California Press

The robust history of women’s rights in Afghanistan is rarely analyzed in academic accounts of Muslim feminism. In this chapter, I trace the positioning of a particular Khana-yi aman in Kabul within the broader institutional framework of feminism and Islam in Afghanistan. The Khana-yi aman, often translated as a “shelter” or “home of peace”, is a form of safe-house in Afghanistan instituted to host women undergoing criminal trials for sexual transgressions or moral misconducts. The ethnographic fieldwork conducted from 2010-2012 at the Kabul Khana-yi aman illustrates the precarious life histories of the women who administer and inhabit the Khana-yi aman, and how unfamiliar and dangerous forms of sexual expressions may be rendered culturally and Islamically intelligible through everyday social maneuvers. The Khana-yi aman is forcing the Afghan state to account for its failures and confront its peripheries, and in doing so it dislocates the question of how to maintain order in orderless societies, to an emphasis on failure, disintegration, and anarchy as constitutive of any state project.

Keywords:   Afghanistan, Islam, Anthropology, Honour, Feminism, Sexual conduct, Women’s Rights, Taliban, Kabul, NGOs

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